Living the Legacy


Jewish Radicalism and the Red Scare

Unit 1 , Lesson 7

Jewish Women's Archive - Living the Legacy

Jewish Radicalism and the Red Scare

Notes to teacher: 

This lesson explores the rich tradition of Jewish radical politics and its repression in the McCarthy era, focusing particularly on the blacklist of Hollywood writers. It also looks at how Jews, radical or not, represented a huge percentage of entertainment industry personnel and how that affected the content of Hollywood films, television and radio. Teachers will want to be particularly careful not to allow students to simplify the very complex ways in which the people involved in this period of history behaved. For example, while students may want to see informers as evil, teachers should help students to understand the very difficult choices people had to make, for instance deciding between speaking out about one’s religious or political beliefs and one’s ability to earn a living and maintain one’s reputation.

Please use the comments section at the bottom of the page to share what clips, scenes, YouTube videos or other film resources you use in this lesson with the rest of the JWA community.

The following biographies can be used in connection to this lesson:

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Living the Legacy - Lesson: Jewish Radicalism and the Red Scare." (Viewed on April 19, 2014) <>.